Garrity's Sunday Horse Racing Picks for Aqueduct, Oaklawn and the San Simeon Stakes at Santa Anita

First post is 4:56 pm ET.
Racing at Santa Anita.
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Today is the last Sunday of standard time: that’s right, next Sunday, we’ll move the clocks forward. That is unequivocally a good thing for horse racing, as it is a sign that we are inching closer to spring, and the glorious return of turf racing at tracks in cold climes.

We have three plays this afternoon, one each in New York, Arkansas, and California. We expect fast dirt and firm turf in all three, so let’s go.

Aqueduct, Race 8, 4:56 pm ET

Allowance, 6 ½ furlongs, Dirt, New York-bred Fillies & Mares 4 & Up

Today’s featured race at the Big A features state-bred allowance females, seven of them, sprinting 6 ½ furlongs. We are taking a shot with one who will be a big price: it’s 2-Betty’s Smile, whose recent form looks pretty abysmal, but who we think will improve markedly here. We think that for two reasons: The minor one is that she is facing her fellow New York-breds after running against open company her past few starts; the major one is that she appears to have a pace advantage, as she has good early speed, something her rivals appear to lack. We think Betty’s Smile is going to get the early lead, and has a very good shot to win the race in wire-to-wire fashion from that tactically advantageous position. We will bet her to win at 20-1. The bet: Aqueduct, Race 8, $40 to win on 2-Betty’s Smile.

Oaklawn Park, Race 7, 4:50 pm ET

Maiden Special Weight, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3-Year-Old Fillies

This dirt sprint for 3-year-old fillies drew a field of eleven. The one who have established form look a bit lacking, which makes the pick 7-Cloak of Mercy, whose pedigree, trainer, and morning workout pattern suggest will be ready to win in her first career start. She looks live at a big number; we will bet her to win at 15-1. The bet: Oaklawn Park, Race 7, $40 to win on 7-Cloak of Mercy.

Santa Anita Park, Race 5, 5:31 pm ET

Grade 3 San Simeon Stakes, 6 ½ furlongs, Turf, 4 & Up

Eight older horses line up to run down the Santa Anita hillside turf course in the San Simeon. One of them, 1-Brickyard Ride, is one of the fastest horses in training anywhere, and while we don’t think he is going to win this race, his presence is going to affect the race significantly, as he will set a very fast early pace that result in a race shape that favors the come-from-behinders. That makes the pick 3-Count of Amazonia, who has the best late-pace numbers in the field. We will bet him to win at 8-1. The bet: Santa Anita, Race 5, $40 to win on 3-Count of Amazonia.

That’s all for today. Until the next time, enjoy the racing, be safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.

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